19 is police radio code for a traffic stop.
Anyone who likes being pulled over by the police raise your hand now.
That’s what I thought, no one.
Let’s face it, being pulled over for a traffic infraction ranks right up there on the annoyance scale with root canal and being audited by the IRS. The most obvious way is to get out of being written a ticket is to obey traffic laws. But if you read this to the end I’ll give you two or three other sure-fire ways to avoid being written up.
And if you do get stopped there are some ways to make your experience a little less stressful.
Just so you know, I am not a cop. These tips are gleaned from my own experiences and from interviews with actual traffic enforcement cops. What follows is not the final word; your mileage may vary.
The first thing to realize is that being pulled over for a broken tail light is not the end of the world. (NOTE: This rule does not apply if you’ve just robbed a bank and the money dye-pack has exploded coating you and everything in your car with a lovely shade of red.)
In most cases, if you are stopped for a minor infraction you’ll be on your way in less than five minutes. The officer takes your license and swipes it through a device that looks like a Palm pilot. The device reads your information and then the officer inputs the information about your infraction and the info is transferred to a portable printer that generates the citation. It’s all over in less time than it takes to smoke a cigarette.
If you’ve been stopped by a traffic enforcement cop whose primary job is to enforce traffic laws, chances are there is nothing you can say to change the cop’s mind.
No amount of tears, profanity or foot stomping will change that. It’s just a fact of life. You can make things go smoothly by not acting stupid. Stupidity during a traffic stop tends to make the situation spin out of control quickly and then pretty soon things like this happen.
In a 10 or 20 years of making traffic stops on the street, the average cop has written tens of thousands of tickets. They’ve seen it all. Just like you wouldn’t want someone to show up at your office and tell you how to do your job, the same holds true for cops. The streets are their office.
Don't disrespect a cop by telling him how to do things in his office.
A few more pointers:
First thing to remember is that NO ONE ever calls the police and says: “Hey, I’m having a wonderful day, can you send an officer over so I can share some fresh-baked cookies with him.”
Talk to cops the way you’d like to be talked to and your courtesy will likely be returned, even if you happen to run across a cop who’s arrogant or rude; there are some out there. Smile, sign the ticket and then go to court if you think he's wrong.
If you live in a small town like Miami Beach there’s a strong possibility you may run across that officer again if you screw up. Cops have very good memories. If you were courteous, he'll remember and if you acted like a jerk the last time you met, he'll remember that too.
Chances are that if you get pulled over for speeding you may not get out of being written for that but you might escape being written for a burned out tail light or a seat belt infraction. But if you start talking smack you're gonna get lots of tickets.
Some things cops don’t want to hear:
One cop I talked with says he never cuts breaks on red light runners and stop sign runners. You're gonna get a ticket. Some will give you leeway on speeding and look the other way if you are going less than 15% over the limit.
After spending a shift with one cop it dawned on me that traffic enforcement is like shooting fish in a barrel. You’d be amazed at how many people routinely break the law behind the wheel. Many drivers apparently think that cops are blind.
A note on radar detectors: they don’t work.
Here on Miami Beach they use laser, not radar. Laser works very differently from radar. The laser gun sends out a beam of laser light that is so narrow and precise it must be aimed with an optical sight, like those used by sharpshooters.
Many officers aim at the grille or headlight. The speed of the vehicle is determined in less than a second. One officer told me that he once stopped a guy for speeding who had a $1,300 jammer. It caused the laser to start acting erratically, but only after it recorded the guy’s speed.
OK, so is it possible to get out of being written a ticket? Sure.
Here are a few actual instances of people who escaped being written:
So, you can get out of a ticket, but the price may be high!